There's no love lost between the Pacers and Heat, and that should continue in tonight's meeting, with playoffs hopes on the line for both teams. Let's examine the NBA betting odds for this evening's contest.
Miami vs. Indiana Odds Overview
As of now, the Pacers are favored by six points on their home court, which at first glance seems like a pretty high number. We get that the Heat have gone cold recently, but it's not like Indiana has been doing much better themselves.
A grind-it-out type game is expected, which explains the NBA odds low total of 191.5 points.
Having lost eight of their last 10, the Pacers desperately needed a win heading into Friday's home game against Charlotte. Well, they more than rose to the occasion, suffocating the Hornets on their way to a 93-74 win.
Indiana made quick work of Charlotte in the second and third quarters to put the game out of reach, with Frank Vogel's team showcasing some excellent defensive play throughout. At the end of the day, the Pacers had held the Hornets to a miserable 35.0 percent shooting overall, while gonig just 4-of-18 (22.2 percent) from beyond the arc. Offensively, Indiana was led by Rodney Stuckey, who scored 15 points off the bench, while George Hill made up for his lack of scoring (four points) by registering 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals.
The best news of all? Surprisingly, Paul George will be returning to the court this evening in what will be his first taste of live action in quite some time. His playing time will be watched closely, but getting your best player back right at the most important time of the season is a huge boost to the franchise. We'll see what kind of impact his return will have, with Indiana a game and a half back of the eighth seed right now.
The Heat have now lost three straight games after falling in Detroit yesterday, and all of a sudden they find themselves on the outside looking in in terms of the playoff picture.
Indeed, when we look over the standings, we see Dwyane Wade and company a half game back of the Boston Celtics for the last spot, this coming after Marcus Smart hit a game-winner to give the Celtics a huge win in Toronto last night. Meanwhile, the Heat lost by a point in Detroit, with Miami unable to stop Reggie Jackson from going off for 29 points. Wade and Goran Dragic combined for 45 points in the defeat.
It was a tough loss to take for the Heat, but they quickly get another chance to right the ship and get back to the winning side of the equation. Will they get the better of a familiar foe in Indiana?
In tonight's hugely important game, we are taking the points for NBA Picks and rolling with the Heat to at least keep this thing close enough for a cover.
As we mentioned, the Pacers haven't done much to deserve getting favored at this kind of number, and we don't expect George's return to make that much of a difference in his first game back. His minutes will be monitored closely and he's unlikely to have a huge impact on the game.
Meanwhile, the Heat are getting healthy again and that should hold them in good stead for this playoff push to close out the regular season. The starting five may be banged up, but it's a talented group when on the court, more talented than what the Pacers bring to the table at this juncture.
With that in mind, we like Miami to cash here, and we wouldn't be all that surprised to see them win straight up, which means the moneyline (at +210) or so could be worth a look too. We'll play it safe though and take those points in this Eastern Conference showdown between two playoff hopefuls.
NBA Pick: Miami Heat +6 at Pinnacle